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Elton John — Ticking
Album: Caribou
Avg rating:
6.5

Your rating:
Total ratings: 340









Released: 1974
Length: 7:13
Plays (last 30 days): 1
"An extremely quiet child" they called you in your school report
"He's always taken interest in the subjects that he's taught"
So what was it that brought the squad car screaming up your drive
To notify your parents of the manner in which you died.

At St. Patrick's every Sunday, Father Fletcher heard your sins
"Oh, he's unconcerned with competition, he never cares to win"
But blood stained a young hand that never held a gun
And his parents never thought of him as their troubled son.

"Now you'll never get to Heaven" Mama said.
Remember Mama said
Ticking, ticking
"Grow up straight and true blue
Run along to bed"
Hear it, hear it, ticking, ticking.

They had you holed up in a downtown bar screaming for a priest
Some gook said "His brains just snapped" then someone called the police
You'd knifed a Negro waiter who had tried to calm you down
Oh, you'd pulled a gun and told them all to lay still on the ground.

Promising to hurt no-one, providing they were still
A young man tried to make a break, with tear-filled eyes you killed
That gun butt felt so smooth and warm cradled in your palm
Oh, your childhood cried out in your head, "They mean to do you harm".

"Don't ever ride on the devil's knee" Mama said
Remember Mama said
Ticking, ticking
"Pay your penance well, my child
Fear where angels tread"
Hear it, hear it, ticking, ticking.

Within an hour the news had reached the media machine
A male Caucasian with a gun had gone berserk in Queens'
The area had been sealed off, the kids sent home from school
Fourteen people lying dead in a bar they called the Kicking Mule.

Oh, they pleaded to your sanity for the sake of those inside
"Throw out your gun , walk out slow just keep your hands held high"
But they pumped you full of rifle shells as you stepped out the door
Oh, you danced in death like a marionette on the vengeance of the law.

"You've slept too long in silence" Mama said
Remember Mama said
Ticking, ticking
"Crazy boy, you'll only wind up with strange notions in your head"
Hear it, hear it, ticking, ticking.
Comments (77)add comment
 pixiep wrote:
how can I not know this song?! excellent. vintage Elton
 
In fairness, vintage Elton and Bernie
 moodfood wrote:
did I mention how brilliant this is?  the way he weaves and changes up the piano accompaniment within the verses while telling the story is pure genius...  {#Cheers}
 
This. You would think, geez, it's a long song with mostly just piano. That's going to get old fast. But it doesn't -- it changes every verse and keeps the interest up.

Full disclosure: this was the first piece of vinyl my Mother bought me in the early 70's, so I've probably listened to it thousands of times.
This song just grabs me.  Holds me frozen.  EVERY SINGLE TIME.
A male caucasian with a gun gone berserk?  That never happens anymore.
Damn fine song by sir Elton thank you bill for playing this nugget
While this is a brilliant song, it's really sad that we have not been able to change the scenario portrayed in it 45 years later.
How have I never heard this before? Whoa. There's a pantheon of similar from this time period... Steely Dan's 'Dont Take Me Alive', Harry Chapin's 'Sniper'. This fits right in. Dark times.
Wowza. Haven't heard this since '75. Named a cat after the song. Everyone thought it was 'Tigger'. *Insert Vincent Price laughter here* 

... remembering that kitty all these decades later.

Only on RP 
Many years ago when I first heard Indigo Girls Closer to Fine... someone leaned over and said 'Ticking'. Almost 30 years later I now know what they meant. 
Holy moly ... it's got to be thirty years since I last heard this - I think I had copied the LP off onto a cassette, but I'm not sure. I still recognized the sound, though. Caribou has crossed my mind, though - I've had Blue Moves on the Ipod for a couple years now. There's a number of good tracks on there, too ... 
how can I not know this song?! excellent. vintage Elton
 moodfood wrote:
did I mention how brilliant this is?  the way he weaves and changes up the piano accompaniment within the verses while telling the story is pure genius...  {#Cheers}
 
I couldn't agree any more.....I had to read back years of comments to see what others wrote.  Irrespective of when he "peaked artistically", what album Caribou followed, what he wears - the man is a genius and I think those of us old enough to have listened closely to Elton at an impressionable age (teens, 20s) were fortunate.
did I mention how brilliant this is?  the way he weaves and changes up the piano accompaniment within the verses while telling the story is pure genius...  {#Cheers}
The best part is when it comes to an end.....
What's he on about chicken, now?

You should play the song about the guy who likes fried chicken next.

thanks,
The Mondegreen Appreciation Club
Awesome song, always brings a tear to my eyes.
This album was made up of leftovers from the Yellow Brick Road project.  Could have been a triple album. :-)  Great tunes on Caribou.
This album ain't everyone's thing, but dang, he could still bring it.
c.
 maxjboxer wrote:
Was a huge Elton fan and this was the end of his run.  Bought it and listened to it twice and shelved it.  He never put out another album of the same quality as his earlier works.

 
Hmmm. I think after Blue Moves he tanked though he came up with the odd hit after. Always had time to listen to him regardless. Saw him in 75 for rock of the Westies, was only 12, and recently at 54; still a great show.
Probably one of Elton's best yet under-rated songs of his catalogue. The piano work here alone is exquisite.
Looking back, I think that many of us early EJ fans might have been swooning over this song, but after EJ went Liberace-glam, we moved on to something more ..".honest" ... maybe...  
Was a huge Elton fan and this was the end of his run.  Bought it and listened to it twice and shelved it.  He never put out another album of the same quality as his earlier works.
Dang, so many of the Elton John songs you don't hear on the radio are so good.  This is the first time I've heard this one.
For a long time my young daughter had "The Lion King" on heavy rotation. Thank god for RP to remind me there's more to Elton John.
No matter what you think of the song, you gotta love that outfit.  {#Roflol}
Ticking away the moments till this song is over
 jmsmy wrote:
thats a deep track

  Very deep but so great to hear after a long long time...


 jmsmy wrote:
thats a deep track

 
Yep, with some dark subject matter, too.
Great song. Great artist. Versatile and flamboyant. Moody and solemn. His failures are as phenomenal as his successes. How about a song from THE DIVING BOARD, Rebecca and Bill?
 jmsmy wrote:
thats a deep track

 
And a good one too!
thats a deep track
Rock Of The Westies was when he changed.  Period.

He fired his 'classic' band and they were never the same after that. 
Well I'll be ...  I have goosebumps...  not from the subject matter or lyrics, but 'cause I'm listening a "classic" EJ track I had never heard before, and I'm diggin' it.

It's interesting to read the differing opinions about when "old" Elton John (the good stuff) became "later" Elton John (the bad stuff).  So many fans agree that a transition took place, but when, exactly?  Rock of the Westies?  Island Girl?  "...about half way down the Yellow Brick Road," as Bindi said below?  Well of course it *did* start with YBR (to wit: Bennie and the Jets).

I had dismissed Caribou as soon as it came out ... the gawd-awful cover was a instant turn-off.  Yet, now there's *this* track.  Dang.  Must rethink the whole Elton John devolution paradigm...  maybe it was more protracted than I thought.  Thanks, RP.

So, dear EJ experts...  what other obscure tracks are lurking out there that hearken back to the golden days?

Is that album cover meant seriously or as a joke? Given that it's 1974 and Elton John, I honestly can't tell.

as this drones on, i keep downgrading my rating. we're down to a 2 now...getting close to a 1. here was someone who should have paid more attention to the under 3 minute pop song idea. gawd, he's tedious.{#Puke}
 Proclivities wrote:
"Targets" is a 1968 Peter Bogdanovich film which featured Boris Karloff, not Vincent Price.  The film was loosely based on the 1966 shooting rampage at The University of Texas at Austin, carried out by Charles Whitman.

"Caribou" was a good album, but that is one of the worst covers ever.
 
My grandfather was there that day, in a bookstore next to campus. He never talked about it.

Interestingly, the incident was the driving force behind the creation of EMS departments. At that time all of the 'ambulances' were owned by hospitals and mortuaries. The emergency response was pretty haphazard.

 MJMJ wrote:
I don't like Mondays either, come to think of it.
 
haha — good one — does sound like Boom Town Rats, and similar song subject!

 jchrise wrote:
.... the song is actually based on an old Vincent Price movie called 'Targets" inspired Bernie Taupin to write this excellent lyric. A model young man snaps and goes on a desperado shooting spree.

 
"Targets" is a 1968 Peter Bogdanovich film which featured Boris Karloff, not Vincent Price.  The film was loosely based on the 1966 shooting rampage at The University of Texas at Austin, carried out by Charles Whitman.

"Caribou" was a good album, but that is one of the worst covers ever.


I have not heard this in so many years.  Song always made me cry when the album first came out.  So sad.
Elton was AMAZING way back when.
How much do you take the Deep Trax factor into account when rating a song?  This is a 7 for me because I like the piano and lyrics, but I want to rate it higher just because it's so cool to hear something from Elton that I don't remember ever hearing before...
Circa 1974. Gotta photo shoot for my new album today. Hmm. What to wear, what to wear.
 jmsmy wrote:

wow Bill that's a "Deep Track

 
No kidding. I'm a huge EJ fan, at the beginning I thought "this sounds like Elton John's piano, but it can't be, I've never heard this." Then he sings and of course it IS Elton.

I'm anxious to hear his new album, with Leon Russell (?!)

3 -> 2  {#Puke}  I was such a huge EJ fan. . . . . It made me so sad that he sunk this low, but the record execs knew people would buy it.  (the masses. . . )

This song is so amazing on so many levels... Bernie Taupin has an unnerving way of getting into a troubled soul's head and viewing the world through that person's eyes.  Back when I had this album on vinyl, I could only listen to "Ticking" once - it was just too intense for me.  And I fear I still feel that way today. So - this is my once-a-year listening.  I'll be forced to mute it if it plays again before 2011.  I love it, but I can't bear it...
 jagdriver wrote:

 

It's a 10 in my book.


I don't like Mondays either, come to think of it.
 jchrise wrote:
I tear up every time I listen to this...brings back so many memories of laying in bed as a 12 year old, imagining the scene.... the song is actually based on an old Vincent Price movie called 'Targets" inspired Bernie Taupin to write this excellent lyric. A model young man snaps and goes on a desperado shooting spree.

No better singer and lyricist duo than EJ and Bernie Taupin!
 
I always wondered where Bernie got his inspiration for this lyric. Thanks. I share your opinion. Let's just ignore the album cover, though.

wow Bill that's a "Deep Track"


 horstman wrote:


Easy, tiger! This is the true animal that is/was Elton John at his finest. He fell apart after Island Girl. Right about the same time that David Bowie gave up on Major Tom.
 
matter of opinion - I'd vote for about half way down the Yellow Brick Road.  This sounds manufactured pablum to me.  Again, only an opinion.

 cohifi wrote:

This is a 4 if I ever heard one.  What happened to good old EJ that is old good EJ?!?

 

Easy, tiger! This is the true animal that is/was Elton John at his finest. He fell apart after Island Girl. Right about the same time that David Bowie gave up on Major Tom.
 linzie wrote:


...this is good old EJ...you musta got lost somewhere after Rock of the Westies.....
 
You are correct.  I didn't notice the release date.  My bad!  The song is still average compared to other old stuff, imho.

 cohifi wrote:

This is a 4 if I ever heard one.  What happened to good old EJ that is old good EJ?!?

 

...this is good old EJ...you musta got lost somewhere after Rock of the Westies.....
I tear up every time I listen to this...brings back so many memories of laying in bed as a 12 year old, imagining the scene.... the song is actually based on an old Vincent Price movie called 'Targets" inspired Bernie Taupin to write this excellent lyric. A model young man snaps and goes on a desperado shooting spree.

No better singer and lyricist duo than EJ and Bernie Taupin!
 Jamunca wrote:

I'd like this to stop now.


 
This is a 4 if I ever heard one.  What happened to good old EJ that is old good EJ?!?

I'd rather Warren Zevon's Excitable Boy.

I'd like this to stop now.


...eclectic!..
Very nice!
Awesome. Never heard this before.


Now this is a terrific EJ song that never gets on FM!!!! ...hate the cover, though...
 fredriley wrote:
So what's the story our Reg from Pinner is singing about? Thanks to RP for playing his lesser-known early stuff - it's often forgotten that he was a very good ballad writer and singer. Shame about the platforms and specs, mind ;). 7 from the (Watford-supporting) Nottingham jury.
 
{#High-five} Couldn't agree more. Nice post Fred.

So what's the story our Reg from Pinner is singing about? Thanks to RP for playing his lesser-known early stuff - it's often forgotten that he was a very good ballad writer and singer. Shame about the platforms and specs, mind ;). 7 from the (Watford-supporting) Nottingham jury.
Wow! Long time for me too. Really brought back some memories. Thanks!
 Darrooon wrote:
Hey Bill, Play it Again. It's been a while.
"Crazy boy you'll only wind up with strange notions in your head.."
 
Yep.
It's been even a longer while.

Say what you want about Kelli.
She has great taste in music.
Thanks for the upload Kelli.

Hey Bill, Play it Again. It's been a while. "Crazy boy you'll only wind up with strange notions in your head.."
Originally Posted by kelli: actually, i'm responsible for this song being here, so blame me or thank me. i first heard it when i was about 8 or nine years old and it was so haunting, it gives me goosebumps every time i still hear it. not to mention, the piano playing is awesome, i think.
kelli, this was one of my favorite songs when I was young. GREAT ADDITION. :cool:
actually, i\'m responsible for this song being here, so blame me or thank me. i first heard it when i was about 8 or nine years old and it was so haunting, it gives me goosebumps every time i still hear it. not to mention, the piano playing is awesome, i think.
This was kind of creepy. I do like earler Elton John, but I can\'t say that this is the best example. Oh, well.
i think this is a great song. from probably the last good elton john album. thanks for playing it bill.

I also grew up in the 80\'s (some consider it the black hole of music & I tend to agree - minus a couple of artists) however, Elton\'s earlier music is alway close buy. His songs usually evoke a wonderful (or even sometimes sad) memory. He stands the test of time... peace
huh... I\'m not sure how to feel after that one. An interesting Elton John song I\'ve never heard before... thanks Bill.... I guess.
I don\'t know much of Elton John as I grew up in the 80\'s (and his stuff wasn\'t exactly great then), so I was pleasantly surprised by this song.
This was nice to hear again. Its from the Caribou album from 1974
Caribou album 1974--He was cranking them out monthly back then Havent heard the song in a long time..Thanks for the memories
What\'s next, \"Family Snapshot\" by Peter Gabriel?
I'm trying to figure out the time frame of this recording ... the backing vocals and synth sound like the Yellow Brick Road era ... whatever, I like it !*!*!